In everything, give thanks

For the Week of November 20, 2023
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There was a lot going on in Port Charles, with Charlotte's secrets -- mostly -- exposed, Esme taking a stand for herself and Ace, and some heartbreaking news for T.J. and Molly. But it's also a time to reflect on all the blessings -- and something brand new -- in this special Two Scoops of gratitude with a side order of tea.

We're doing things a little differently this Thanksgiving in Two Scoopsland. Before we get to all the good stuff about the week that was, I'd like to take a moment to talk about all the things that I'm grateful for in the land of General Hospital. At the top of the list is the fact that my beloved soap celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2023. It's incredible to me to think that GH premiered before I was even born.

The show's longevity is a testament to what an amazing and awesome soap opera it is and how it managed to adjust and change with the times. More importantly, it shows that there is still a demand and a desire for this type of scripted content. I realize that reality shows, news programs, and talk shows are cheaper to produce, but it's not quality television. There are now a billion reality shows both on television and the Internet, we have entire channels dedicated to news all day every day, and too many talk shows, which, frankly, just don't interest me. When I watch television, I want to escape reality. The only exception to that rule are documentaries. I do enjoy those.

Soap operas have always been my guilty pleasure, and I feel that corporate greed has driven them to near extinction. It still breaks my heart that All My Children and One Life to Live were replaced with garbage television, and it's why I don't watch -- and I never will -- any of the programs that have replaced the soaps. It's a matter of principle. At the same time, I'm deeply appreciative that I still have my GH, so I make a point to never miss an episode.

That brings me to the writers and the actors, and the strikes that dominated most of 2023. I'm delighted that we will be closing out the year with the strikes settled and everyone getting back to work. I come from a family of union workers, so I know the hardships and uncertainty that a family can face when a loved one has to walk a picket line. Poor or well-to-do, people have bills to pay, and those bills don't get paid when there's no income.

Selfishly, I had worried about GH running out of episodes before an agreement was reached. I feared that if that had happened, then GH would eventually get taken off the air and never return. Luckily, my fears were for naught because GH not only chugged along, but it also seemed to pick up steam, like when Nikolas was revealed to be out of his coma, Victor took a last stand in Greenland, and Ned got knocked into "Eddie" amnesia before he could spill the beans about Nina.

In 2023, we've gotten more love scenes, tons of exciting cliffhanger moments, and plenty of unexpected twists and turns. It wasn't all sunshine and rainbows, but there was plenty to keep viewers engaged and tuning in.

There's no denying that it's also been a particularly heartbreaking year behind the cameras with the losses of Jackie Zeman (Bobbie Spencer), Sonya Eddy (Epiphany Johnson), Billy Miller (ex-Drew Cain), and most recently, Tyler Christopher (ex-Nikolas Cassadine). Each of those passings blindsided me, so I can't even begin to imagine how hard it was for those who knew and loved them. They all had a special place in my heart and the hearts of their legions of fans, and they definitely left their marks on the show.

It's for that reason that I'm especially thankful that we've had a few returns, even if it's only for a visit. Rena Sofer (Lois Cerullo) has been a breath of fresh air and a delight to watch, especially since the visit was long overdue. I have a daughter, and I couldn't imagine not seeing her for extended periods of time. Brook Lynn has been through so much over the past few years that Lois' absence was glaring at times.

The same goes for Tracy Quartermaine's (Jane Elliot) timely return. She might not be everyone's cup of tea, but she's an icon and always brings the drama -- and the long game. Sadly, the next time that we see Tracy, she will likely be bearing tragic news about Bobbie. I don't know if I will ever be emotionally prepared for that day, but at the same time, it's the only way for GH to honor Jackie Zeman's legacy.

I'm also grateful that there were visits from the All My Children and One Life to Live characters that I used to watch. I loved seeing Jackson Montgomery (Walt Willey) and Blair Cramer (Kassie DePaiva) -- that nonsense about Blair having had an affair with David Vickers notwithstanding -- and I think they should visit more often and bring some friends along with them. There's really no need to create new characters when there are plenty of great characters with complete backstories ripe for the plucking from ABC's canceled soaps.

Now, if we can just get David Hayward (Vincent Irizary, AMC) to consult on a case at GH and maybe catch up with ex-wife Anna Devane, my soap-loving heart would be full.

Before I get to the week's shenanigans, I want to take the opportunity to express my gratitude for and sing the praises of Soap Central's founder and owner, Dan Kroll, for his genius talents in creating the most awesome graphics for all my Two Scoops columns. It's a collaboration in that I imagine stick figures on a blank canvas, and he turns them into works of art that capture the spirit of each of my columns. I'm always excited to see what he comes up with, and I have yet to be disappointed by any of them.

I also have an amazing editor who catches all my typos and grammatical errors with frightening efficiency. I swear, I proofread my columns, Lisa. She is the absolute best, and I'm eternally grateful that she always has my back. Thank you for all that you do.

Thoughts about the week of November 13

We're going to do something new -- a little Thanksgiving experiment. Be sure to keep reading all the way to the end of the column so that you don't miss a super-sized serving of Two Scoops stuff(ing).

Olivia is an awful person. She wants Ned to keep Nina's secret because Sonny and Nina are happy newlyweds, and both Carly and Drew have moved on. What kind of ridiculous nonsense is that? Where's her loyalty to Ned? Everyone thinks he's a ratfink, and Nina actively tried to get him to leave town -- and his family -- for good in order to keep him from remembering that she was the real snitch. It baffles me that Olivia wouldn't want to clear Ned's name. Let Nina get a taste of the medicine that she inflicted on Ned.

Olivia is a terrible friend, too. Carly is supposed to be her best friend, and she saw firsthand how the SEC charges upended Carly's life and nearly cost Drew his life in prison. Her request does everyone dirty -- except Nina.

Why has no one reminded Charlotte that Victor was an evil psychopath who tried to kill most of the world's population, including her beloved Papa? Maybe if someone told her the truth about Victor, she'd be less inclined to believe his lies. If Charlotte is old enough to stalk and terrorize Anna, then she's old enough for a real conversation. She also needs to understand that Anna was a victim, too. Yes, Anna did bad things in the past, but Anna's past transgressions don't hold a candle to Papa Dearest's crimes.

Also, can someone please take a closer look at those tarot cards that Victor gave Charlotte? There is definitely more to them than meets the eye if Victor was able to assure Charlotte that they would be a powerful tool in defeating Anna. Every single longtime viewer knows that Grammy Helena loved using tarot cards when she was wreaking havoc on poor, unfortunate souls.

Spencer needs to seriously check himself. I'm no fan of Esme, but she has every right to move out and build a life of her own with Ace, out from under the watchful gaze of Spencer, Laura, and Kevin. If Spencer is so worried about Esme's fitness as a mother, then he has the means to cut her out of Ace's life for good -- and avenge his girlfriend at the same time. All he has to do is turn over the evidence that Victor gave him. Viewers know that the evidence isn't fabricated. It's real proof of Esme's crimes, and it's more than enough to send her to prison until well after Ace is an adult.

Will Spencer decide to use it as leverage to force Esme to share custody of Ace? I don't know, but I'm fully in Trina's corner. If Spencer does go down that route or one similar, I want her to walk away and find someone who really does want to build a life with her. This is why I say Spencer needs something to do with his life other than obsess about Ace. Also, it's why I would really like a proper DNA test to be done.

T.J. and Molly got some devastating news when their surrogate, Andrea, revealed that she had miscarried the baby... but this is a soap opera, and I've learned long ago not to take anything at face value when it comes to things like this. My first question was why Andrea didn't immediately call T.J. and Molly when she woke up cramping and bleeding. If she waited until morning to go to the hospital, then surely, she could have taken the few extra minutes to drive to GH -- where she'd had the procedure and where her doctors were -- instead of going to Mercy Hospital.

I know that Andrea said that Mercy was closer, but she had already delayed seeking medical treatment. Did Andrea decide that she wants to keep the baby, and this allows her to do just that without raising suspicions? It's possible. Soaps are all about bad choices and drama. Secretly keeping a baby intended for another couple would certainly accomplish that.

I'm thrilled that Ava confronted Austin about his association with Cyrus and that she didn't fall for his spiel that he did everything in his power to save her. Maura West is a powerhouse, and those scenes were absolute perfection. Ava was so right when she pointed out that he could have gone to Sonny or the police instead of kowtowing to Cyrus. Austin is a coward, not a victim. He knew all along that Nikolas was alive, and he knew that Cyrus was a danger, but he said nothing. He gave no one any warning because he cared more about his own safety than the people that Cyrus was targeting.

That said, will Austin pay for his weakness with his life? I can't imagine the show writing Austin off unless they had plans to bring Todd Manning back or revive Franco Baldwin from the dead, but that seems very unlikely. I love Roger Howarth. He's an incredibly talented actor, and he's been far more deserving than wishy-washy Austin Gatlin-Holt, but that can easily be rectified with a good storyline and a little character growth. I hope that's the direction the writers are headed with their shocking Friday cliffhanger.

Folks, we are going to try something a little different, since Thanksgiving week is a short week of shows -- and since Tamilu is off being her fabulous self and living life to the fullest. Each day starting November 20, I will live-tweet at @LizMastersSC about GH on X, the site formerly known as Twitter, starting at 2pm ET. After each episode, I will add my thoughts on that episode here in this Two Scoops column. I will also highlight one of your tweets in this column, so be sure to join me each day and check back here for daily updates.

Thoughts about the week of November 20

"I choose to put myself first." Brava, Trina! I'm so happy that she stood her ground with Spencer. I know Spencer loves her. I'm sure he does regret telling her that she wouldn't like his choice if he had to choose between her and Ace, but this issue goes beyond an apology. Spencer wants parental rights, and I don't think it's going to be as easy as he thinks it is to take a step back from Ace. Spencer has control issues and way too much time on his hands.

Shockingly, for someone as intelligent and educated as Spencer is, he lacks ambition and drive. He spends his days following people around and focusing on their lives and their problems rather than his own. How long before Spencer decides that Ace spends too much time at daycare because Esme is working long hours to make ends meet like most young working mothers?

Trina is young and focused, and she's well on her way to a wonderful career. She is light years ahead of Spencer in so many ways, and sometimes it feels a bit like Spencer is holding her back. It's sad that she had to remind him that she was Esme's victim, and she doesn't want to have to deal with Esme as much as she has. Spencer should have always been aware of that. I'm happy that he chose Trina, but I worry that his words lacked commitment. As I said earlier, what happens when Spencer decides that Esme isn't living up to his lofty expectations?

So, it looks like Friday's cliffhanger was the end of Austin Gatlin-Holt. Good riddance to Austin -- he was feckless -- but Roger Howarth is another matter entirely. I'm shocked that Roger has already filmed his final scene, and I'm heartbroken to see him go. I've been a fan of his since his days on One Life to Live -- after Todd Manning found love with Blair Cramer -- so I was thrilled when Todd crossed over to GH. As much as I hated it, I understood why they had to write Todd off.

I wasn't thrilled with the idea of Roger returning as the infamous Franco, but it took Franco falling in love with Nina Reeves (Michelle Stafford) to win me over -- proof of what good writing and storytelling can do. However, Austin was different. From the very start, the writers seemed at a loss as to what direction they wanted to take Austin in. He had tons of potential as a long-lost Quartermaine, especially when the writers hinted at something dark in his past, but that potential was never realized.

Between Austin's ill-fated pairing with Maxie Jones -- even though Roger had mad chemistry (and a fan base) with both Becky Herbst and Maura West -- and the rewrites, it was hard to get a bead on Austin. Was he a good guy, a bad guy, somewhere in between? It was always up in the air. Inserting creepy cousin Mason into the storyline didn't help. Adding to the confusion, Cyrus was revealed to be the boss and the one who put Austin through medical school. Why? What was Cyrus' connection to Austin's mother? With Austin dead, we will probably never know.

It's such a waste of a phenomenal actor. Ideally, Roger returns in a few months as Todd Manning, but it's very unlikely. It's far more plausible that one of the other soaps will swoop in and snatch him up. They would be foolish not to.

Folks, I'm trying to have some empathy for Josslyn's stressed-out classmate Adam Wright, but I can't for the life of me figure out how he went from a cocky frat boy who made crude remarks to Josslyn during the revenge porn situation to a tweaked-out wreck on the verge of a breakdown with no friends and with parents who think anything less than perfection is failing. Another rewrite? It sure looks like it, and judging by how things are spiraling, Adam is soon going to put Josslyn in a dangerous situation.

Am I worried? Not really. It's Josslyn. If she doesn't save herself, then Dex will be sure to ride to the rescue. However, this storyline isn't really grabbing my attention. It feels predicable and a bit like a vehicle to give Joss and Dex something to do.

Charlotte lied about what she was doing in Anna's apartment because she didn't even mention going through Anna's trunk of WSB secrets. Was it deliberate to make Anna look guilty or is there something else going on with Charlotte's memory? She didn't take responsibility for the hit piece in the Sun or setting fire to Anna's, which points to Agent Forsythe as the real culprit of those dastardly deeds. Is he using the Cassadine mind control techniques to make Charlotte forgetful, compliant, and incapable of seeing Anna as anything less than evil?

Okay, clearly, there is a lot of foreshadowing going on with Finn's lawsuit. Both Alexis and Diane warned him that the hospital would throw him under the bus in a heartbeat to save themselves, and Terry pretty much hinted at it when she talked to Liz. I think this could actually turn out to be an interesting storyline, even if the premise is a bit questionable.

As Melina Abney pointed out, in real life his malpractice carrier would appoint him an attorney.

Drew isn't fooling me. It's obvious that he's determined to seize control of ELQ as payback for Ned reporting him to the SEC. This is why Michael should tell Drew and Carly the truth. They deserve to know, and Ned shouldn't continue to pay the price for Nina's folly.


Did you recognize the coroner who gave Dante and Chase a report about the man in the morgue found dead on the side of the road? It was Barry Livingston, who played Ernie Douglas on My Three Sons!

It turns out that the dead man was WSB Agent Jameson Forsyth -- the man Anna suspected had stolen the files from her home. I also had him pegged as the person who had set fire to Anna's house. The plot thickens. Who killed the WSB agent -- and why?

Anna definitely needs to get her act together because things have taken a sinister turn with Forsyth's death, so she needs to be on guard and deal with it because I have a feeling the person in the shadows will soon step into the light. Besides, Charlotte is Valentin's responsibility, and whatever say Anna might have had on the matter went by the wayside when she broke things off with him. Also, Anna knows better than most, because of what Victor put Robin through, that it would take more than a few painful truths to undo the havoc that Victor wreaked on Charlotte's mind.

I'm not the only one who feels that going to Charlotte's hospital room was out of character for Anna.

In other news, Curtis finally has a purpose again. Yay. However, if I were Portia, I'd keep a close eye on him and Jordan working together because there are still sparks between them.

The scenes between Sonny and Sasha were sweet, but I feel that he failed her. I appreciate that he wanted to repay her the money that Gladys stole, but I really wish that Sonny had turned Gladys over to the police. Gladys shouldn't have gotten away with her crimes.

What are your thoughts about what's happening on General Hospital? I love hearing from everyone and reading what you have to say, so drop me a comment in the Comments section below. You can also join us over on the message boards for even more conversation.

Take care and happy viewing,
Liz Masters

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Two Scoops is an opinion column. The views expressed are not designed to be indicative of the opinions of Soap Central or its advertisers. The Two Scoops section allows our Scoop staff to discuss what might happen and what has happened, and to share their opinions on all of it. They stand by their opinions and do not expect others to share the same point of view.

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